On a Saturday night, our tummies were all full from a delicious meal consisting of pork loin raised on our farms fresh milk, baked potatoes, butter churned fresh this morning and fresh herbs from our garden. The meal made us feel like royalty but only cost a few dollars and some sweat equity. Our home is built from timbers off our land that Kelby hand cut and raised with a band of men one day, our furniture eclectic and salvaged second hand is cozy and warm. We relax together, gazing out the oversized windows in our living space. The children laugh as they watch the chickens chase each other. The birds get out their final bursts of energy before the sun begins to set and beckon them to nestle on their roosts for the evening. I tucked my three sons into bed, rocked the baby to sleep, poured myself a cup of lilac tea and thought to myself how did I get here?
I grew up like 80% of Americans in an urban area. I went to catholic school 5 days a week and on the weekends mostly watched tv, painted or rode my bike. Both of my parents had full time jobs so as a family we only cooked on Sundays. Sundays were my favorite, the smell of sauce (since we are Italian it’s a staple), fresh garlic bread and slow cooked meat simmering. It would be the first time and only time of the week that we would gather around the table for a meal and it was my favorite meal of the week.
In High School when I was faced with what I was going to do with the rest of my life, I chose the natural, the planned path of going to college. But only by divine intervention and grandparents who lived just miles away I ended up at Alfred State College. I remember as a senior in High School I toured the School of Business and told the department chair that their program just wasn’t for me. Trying to help a very confused 17 year old she kindly asked me what I was interested in. I thought for a moment, and my mind went to the miles of bike rides I had ridden in my life, to the minutes, turned hours of my childhood I had spent in the woods with my grandfather. I looked up at her and said, “I just like to be outside.” A little surprised by my response she recovered quickly and offered, “Our school has a great agriculture program with outdoor classes.” And because it would get me outside, because I had run out of options, and because something inside me said yes, I told her, “sign me up.”
Fast forward 13 years and here I am. A city girl refined to live the dirty life. My daily tasks include some form of raising our food from calf, chick or seed to dinner plate. I wake up early and go to bed late. I choose to homeschool my children and have them with me during all aspects of life even when that gets challenging. I work along side my husband and there is no concept of “down time” just moments in between. I have learned to live instinctively or as a Christian we call it by the spirit. I have become fiercely passionate about our food system and with that new passions have been awakened like alternative healthcare, spiritual wellness and clean living.
It is on this journey that the 13 year old girl riding her bike for miles looking for something, met her maker and not only gained wholeness but found a calling. As our lives have so radically changed over the last several years through the pandemic, birth of our youngest two children and stepping away from the “normal” style of dairy farming to completely raw direct sales I have no idea what tomorrow will bring. What I do know is that I am being changed yet again, but it is by all of you. I am spending time on the phone, over email and in person learning that everyone else is on a journey too. Our new customers have become friends so quickly. I have learned so much in the past few months and the passions earlier described have only grown deeper. There is a change happening in our culture. Around these parts we call it a revolution. Moms who once were content filling their grocery carts with highly processed and marketable snacks are now reading labels and asking questions. Some are going further and churning butter, or making cheese. We are starting to question the information we once believed to be facts. There is a new search for truth. This search is a journey. It feels overwhelming sometimes when so much information is available, so many new skills can be learned and so many lies get exposed. I have learned along the way to take it one step, one day or one minute at a time. When we conquer one thing, then we can move on to the next and before we know it we are teaching classes and passing on these skills to our children. I am so encouraged to be on this journey with all of you. Perhaps we are all being called back to the land, back to traditional living and back to creation so that in doing so we will better understand the one who created it all.